Child-free man's criticism of mom staring at phone while ignoring her son at the park sparks debate

"Are you guys that attached to your phones?"

smart phones, parents, mario mirante

Mario Mirante criticizes a mom he saw at the park.

TikTokker Mario Mirante is going viral for his video that brings up two significant issues: smartphone addiction and whether people without children have the right to criticize parents.

It all started when Mirante saw a young boy playing alone in the park.

“The kid is just playing quietly, not being annoying. I don’t hear a peep from him; he's just doing his thing on the playground,” Mirante said in a video that has nearly 6000,000 views. “The mom the entire time is on her phone, staring right down at her screen. Doesn’t look up one time.”

The boy climbed up to the top of the slide and called down to his mother, who didn’t even look up from her phone. “I hear, ‘Hey mom, watch. Watch, Mom,’” Mirante recalled. “And at the top of her lungs, shrieking like a Velociraptor, this mother screams, ‘One second!”

The mother’s shriek was so intense that it shocked Mirante and the boy.


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“He wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Mirante said. “Mom never looks up from the screen as the kid goes down (the slide).” After witnessing the parent with her face in her phone, ignoring her child, Mirante decided to call out parents who make their children feel as if they are less important than their parents’ phones.

“Are you guys that attached to your phones?” Mirantes demanded. "All that I was simply trying to say was that I see that happen all too often. And then I see parents complaining about how exhausting it is and how society and social media is ruining their children. Meanwhile, they can't look up from their phones. Can’t give ‘em the time of day.”

Many people thought Mirante didn’t have the right to criticize the mother because he doesn’t have children. "I thought the same way as you. And then I became a parent. Until you become a parent, you do not understand the struggle," Sophia wrote.

While others thought that his criticisms of the mother were warranted.

"I am a single mom, I 100% agree with you. Kids remember who is actually PRESENT with them, not glued to their phone, the TV etc etc," i.am.kristen wrote. “Sometimes it takes two seconds to make a child feel seen and heard, I could've used that in my childhood. love this," Dez addded.

Mirante pushed back against those who said he doesn’t have the right to judge by noting that he’s been a child. “I am an adult that went through a childhood,” he said. "If you want to justify screaming at your kid for no reason when they're not doing anything wrong and how your phone is more important than the attention from your child, go right ahead. I'm all ears."

There’s no hard-set rule on whether people without children have the right to criticize parents, but Mirante was right to point out a big problem in today’s world: parents who spend too much time on their smartphones.

Even if a parent isn’t a full-blown social media addict, spending too much time on our phones can hurt a child’s development. “Often, the effect of looking down at a screen can eliminate the opportunity and space kids need to say what’s on their mind,” warns Jeanne Williams, a child psychologist and play therapist, told Today's Parent. “When a kid is distressed, and you completely ignore them, their distress is going to grow. They won’t build neural pathways that teach them how to soothe themselves.”

We’ll never know the entire situation that happened that day at the park and whether the mother normally pays attention to her son. But Mirante’s video brings up a much-needed conversation about the amount of time we spend staring at our phones when we could be engaging with those we love.

The gaze of the approving Boomer.

Over the past few years, Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) have been getting a lot of grief from the generations that came after them, Gen X (1965 to 1980), Millenials (1981 to 1996), and now, Gen Z (1997 to 2012). Their grievances include environmental destruction, wealth hoarding, political polarization, and being judgemental when they don’t understand how hard it is for younger people to make it in America these days.

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